Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

About Me


This blog is the result of an incredible adventure I never expected to reshape my life.

I’ve never been much of an adventure-seeker, but three months after the birth of our second child my husband was given the opportunity to take an expatriate assignment in Milan, Italy. The move was as much of an opportunity for me as it was for him, because it gave me the chance to take a bit of a breather from a fulfilling, but stressful, career and focus my energy on nurturing the growth of our daughter and son.

The move took about a year – welcome to Italy! – and the adjustment process had some challenges, but we eventually settled into our new hometown. Living in Italy, and travelling in Europe, was a transforming experience for me. Some of the biggest challenges (the cultural difference, language barrier, and separation from familiar supports) were also the greatest opportunities to learn and grow. Once I was able to embrace the teaching potential of these differences each day offered new opportunities to push myself, and to find new ways of living out my faith as honestly as possible with my family and my larger community. They also offered the chance to capture my new perspectives in a way that would help me to hold on the them, and even share them with others with whom they might resonate. Thus was born my blog.

I have to admit, when I started this site I was a complete blogging novice, and I am still barely literate in this complicated medium.  I don’t utilize most of the functionality available because the purpose of this blog is primarily reflective. I have always been the kind of person who wants to process my experiences verbally and share these reflections with those around me. So, this blog is really a journal of my thoughts on the incredible experiences of discovery, love, and my efforts to find personal integration in the daily moments of my life.

Eighteen months after I started this process life landed my little family back in the States, and thus the “focaccia” part of our adventure is in some ways behind us. In other ways, however, it has become a part of me forever. Our years in Italy have made me much more aware of the culture around me, whether that be my native culture or the many others that our shrinking world exposes me to. Life still brings me endless chances to think and learn, and so I’m still blogging as long as my online journal seems relevant.

The “faith” part of my life journey took on a new aspect another two years later, as I began the process for becoming an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The change in the pattern of my daily life, and the opportunity to engage in public reflection through sermon preparation and preaching has left me with less time for blogging, and less need for this particular outlet for my rumination, but I still value the chance to share my life and my thoughts with the nurturing community here.

I also hope that my occasional blogs can contribute to my efforts to make a positive impact on the world. My most central roles of mother and pastor have made this goal a central challenge of my daily life. The decisions I make about how to speak, behave, and even think make impressions on the two precious little people who share my days, and on the faith community I lead. I hope that this blog can extend that impact even further, and start conversations that can be opportunities for others to share and learn together with me.

10 thoughts on “About Me

    • Thanks so much. It is so encouraging to hear from folks I don’t know … Not that I don’t appreciate the love from my Mom, but it’s great to know my reflections have a broader audience as well 🙂

  1. What an adventure you are on! Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  2. Hi Serena, congrats on moving to a new season of your life. I’d love to chat with about your vision going forward and maybe I can mine with you. In the meantime, many blessings and grace and mercy with CPE.

    • Thank you Reggie! I would love the chance to connect. Will you be at the APN Conference on the 28th? I will be there as an attendee this year (get to just enjoy it). Maybe we could connect.

      • Hey Serena. That’s neat you will be attending as a participant this year. Actually, I will not be able to attend. First of all, on Friday’s on don’t work for ACNJ but I am counselor at Cairn University. 2nd, Rutgers is having a Culture Conference that I am planning to attend.

  3. Hi Serena,
    I was just telling the story of your wedding here at the Rincon Bach Club and decided to try and find you and Tyler online. I love your writing and I am thrilled to see that life is good for you and yours.
    Thinking of you..

  4. Dear Serena, I love your modern magnificat and would like to use it with our SND Associates at our spring gatheirng. May I have your permission to print it for them? I would certainly give you credit it.

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